London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Shoreditch 1859

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Shoreditch, Parish of St. Leonard]

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died under such circumstances that the cause of their death was not ascertained,
or not certified by competent authority. I may here observe
without impropriety, that however much it may be regretted that any
member of the community should pass from amongst us without his death
being accounted for, it must be regarded as a marvel of administrative
perfection, and a title to public gratitude for the profession which renders
this important service to the state gratuitously, that all the deaths should
be authenticated and assigned to their immediate causes within a little
more than one per centum.
Lastly there is a sum of 53 persons, chiefly the subject of Coroners'
inquests, who came by their death from causes other than natural disease.
5 persons died of Asphyxia, 38 from various forms of Violence, 7 from
Poison, and 3 from Drowning.
The Mortality in different Sub-Districts, and the proportion of Deaths
to Births.—Table III exhibits a summary view of the vital statistics of the
six Registration Sub-Districts. The movement of the population in
different parts of the parish varies extremely. The old districts of
Holywell and St. Leonard's have probably undergone little change since
the census of 1851; but in the other districts the case is very different.
This will be borne in mind when comparing the deaths with the population,
and the proportion of deaths to births. Excluding Hoxton New
Town which contains St. Luke's Workhouse, and Haggerstone West which
contains Shoreditch Workhouse, we find the proportion of deaths to births
ranging from a minimum of 42 per centum in Haggerstone East, to a
maximum of 67 per centum in Holywell. The mean proportion of the
whole parish is 58 per centum. This discrepancy is not wholly accounted
for by the greater insalubrity and mortality of Holywell and St. Leonard's,
but greatly by the fact that in Haggerstone East, where the erection of
new houses supplies new homes for immigrants, there is a constant influx
of settlers of procreative age. Thus is the proportion of births unduly
raised. The proportion of deaths to births throughout London last year.
was 67 per centum, which is identical with our Holywell maximum. This
would lend confirmation to the estimate that the population of Shoreditch
is undergoing a more rapid enlargement through immigration than the
metropolis generally. The proportion in Shoreditch in 1858 was 65
per centum.

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